What a bad week. The events cascaded across TV screens, each mounting a different fear or feeling of national loss. As many in Washington and elsewhere felt, it was like 2001 all over again, with terrorist blasts and poisoned letters headlining the top of each news hour. Then, there was last night’s violent explosion near Waco, Texas.
Maybe April really is the cruelest month.
But even during bad weeks, there will always be some good news. Take this bit to cheer yourself up: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that infant mortality rates have dropped 12 percent from 2005 to 2011. More babies are surviving! Who can’t smile at that statistic?
While CNN and the cable networks were scrambling to get the story straight on the Boston bombing, news in this country and around the world was still occurring (for the good and for the bad). Here are the big stories that got overshadowed this week.
The Boy Scouts Propose Lifting Ban on Gay Members
While the 103-year-old organization will still not allow gay members in leadership positions, the group announced a proposal on Friday to not discriminate among membership. The proposal will come to a vote in May. "If approved, the resolution would mean that 'no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.' The BSA will maintain the current membership policy for all adults," a Scouts spokesperson told CNN.
Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral
More than 4 million Britons tuned in Wednesday to watch the state funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died last week. The military-style funeral procession was met by some protest. After all, Thatcher was one of the most divisive political figures in the country. Protesters, in a quiet yet powerful way, turned their backs to her coffin as it made its way toward St. Paul’s Cathedral.There were some posters and hecklers—who were outraged at the $15 million price tag of the proceedings—but the funeral went off without incident.
The Telegraph provides the highlights of the funeral (oxymoron, much?)
TIME Unveils 2013’s 100 Most Influential People
Usually a big to-do, Time’s annual list of the world’s most influential people was published Wednesday to little fanfare. Yes, it was overshadowed by the week’s events, but perhaps it was overlooked because the selections are not all that surprising. Jay-Z, President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Rand Paul, Sheryl Sandberg, and Chris Christie make the cut.
Earthquake in Iran
On Tuesday, a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Iran near the border with Pakistan.This was the strongest quake to hit the country in more than 50 years. For perspective, the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010 was a 7.0. Considering the quake’s power, it wasn’t all that deadly. It occurred 51 miles underground in a remote area, which diminished its impact. Thirty-five people died in a Pakistani border town. Iranian media reported 27 injuries.
George W. Bush Becomes a Grandfather
Jenna Bush Hager gave birth to a daughter Sunday. The baby, named Margaret Laura (but will go by “Mila”), is named after her two grandmothers. “Laura and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our grandchild,” the former president said in a statement. His presidential library opens next week.
The GOP Drops Mark Sanford Amid Trespassing Charges
Mark Sanford was just starting to get back on his horse. Nearly four years after the disgraced governor went “missing” to visit a girlfriend in Argentina, he is now mounting a bid for a congressional seat in South Carolina. However, what happened this week might have cut his chances. After allegations of trespassing on his ex-wife’s property were uncovered he said he just wanted to watch the Super Bowl with his son), the National Republican Congressional Committee dropped all support for his candidacy.
Immigration Bill Is Revealed
The long-awaited “Gang of Eight” immigration bill was formally unveiled Wednesday (at 2 a.m., nonetheless). The bill offers a (very long) pathway to green cards and eventual citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States. It also provides $3 billion to strengthen border security. Only those who arrived before Dec. 31, 2011, will be eligible to become a legal resident, but will have to pay fines and back taxes. National Journal’s Fawn Johnson discusses the finer details of the bill here.
Gun Background Check Amendment Blocked in Senate
The Senate blocks a provision to mandate background checks for all gun purchases in the United States, after a coalition of Democrats and a handful of Republicans fail to gather the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster. President Obama was not happy. Gabby Giffords wasn’t either.
Hunger Strikes at Guantanamo Bay
Dozens of Guantanamo Bay inmates are on hunger strikes, according to a New York Times Op-ed dictated by a prisoner there. “One man here weighs just 77 pounds,” reads the piece. “Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago."